Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Despite the missile tests on Monday (the second round could come at any point in the next five days) and the usual editorial bellyaching in the pages of Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK is making some kind effort to strum a new chord in its relations with South Korea, Japan and the United States. Time will tell if this is a sincere desire on the part of the North Korean leadership, a legacy for Kim Jong-il to pass on to the country’s next leadership, or if this is another attempt to extract diplomatic concessions, currency and foodstuffs, and then, entertain the darker angels of the DPRK’s collective heart. In the spirit of General-Secretary Kim’s new happy face comes a good piece from Blaine Harden in Washington Post that presents a general audience with a concise summary of the week’s events in the DPRK. Of especial note in Mr. Harden’s story is the presence in Pyongyang this week of Rev. Franklin Graham (Billy’s son). With both South Korea and the US State Department preferring to litigate their DPRK-based concerns in the press, perhaps it will be private efforts by people such as Rev. Graham (the Grahams have been dealing with the North Koreans for nearly twenty years) and Good Friends that end up facilitating better relations with the DPRK and ease the material plight of North Korean citizens. On the darker side of things Choe Sang-hun has another installment on the unrelenting naval disputes between the two Koreas.
I will have a post (hopefully within the next 24-36 hours) about the other possible reason for the DPRK’s missile tests.
Blaine Harden, 15 October 2009
KCNA, 14 October 2009
Choe Sang-hun, 16 October 2009